Joseph returned to Belgium this weekend to compete against the best young drivers in the world in the opening round of the CIK-FIA Academy Trophy. This competition is well known in the karting world for revealing the talent for tomorrow’s motorsport. Along with Alex Simmons, Joseph was selected by the MSA to represent Great Britain in in the prestigious three-round Academy Trophy which will see Joseph compete in Belgium, France and Finland.
Each year, the CIK-FIA invites nominations from national governing bodies for drivers to contest the Academy Trophy. The MSA pays all entry and registration fees and the organisers provide identical equipment to all competitors, ensuring a level playing field for all drivers.
About the Trophy
The CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy is a one-of-a-kind competition designed to bring together the world’s best hopefuls on equal terms. Young Drivers between the ages of 12 and 14 represent their country at the wheel of identical randomly drawn karts, with Exprit chassis and Vortex engines from the OK-Junior category, equipped with Bridgestone tyres.
The Weekend’s Results
Joseph was on it straight out of the gate, securing the fastest time in the first practice on Friday, instantly identifying him as a driver to watch. He continued to set impressive times throughout the rest of the day’s sessions.
On Saturday Joseph remained at the top, finishing 3rd in the first warm-up. He bettered this in qualifying practice, taking 2nd.
Again Taylor impressed, finishing second to Mike Van Vugt who, despite representing the Netherlands, had somewhat of a home advantage, living very close to the Belgian circuit.
During the morning warm-ups Joseph showed he was determined to make an impression, finishing first with an outstanding time of 56.841. He won his qualifying heat which resulted in a starting position of 3rd for the big race, just behind Van Vugt in 1st and Belgian Xavier Handsaeme (another home advantage).
34 Karts lined up for the final and as soon as the lights went green Joseph was on a mission, he made an impressive move in the opening lap and finished lap one in 2nd, hot on the heels of Van Vugt still in 1st. This continued with the two drivers creating a significant gap between themselves and the rest of the pack, the race was looking like a two-horse race.
Joseph continued to chase the Dutch driver with impressive skills around the home of champions, however at mid-point in the race Joseph felt he was losing power. Joseph reacted intelligently, switching his strategy to a defensive one and did his best to make his Kart as big as possible with the commentator even stating “Joseph Taylor is doing everything right” as he defended against the pack.
This continued until lap 12 of 19 where he conceded his 2nd place to 3rd. Undeterred, he continued to battle and it looked like he was going to retain his podium finish. Unfortunately, with a lack of power, he lost more positions finishing 5th 0.0 seconds behind the 4th place kart of Skjellerup.
Following the race, penalties were dished out. Oliver Skov Skjellerup of Denmark received a 13 second penalty, 10 for an incorrectly installed front fairing and a 3 second penalty for partly leaving the corridor. This moved Joseph up into 4th just outside of the podium resulting in an excellent start to the championship.